Coast Community College District Trustee Jim Moreno is trying to return to county government, a comfortable place after spending decades in neighboring Los Angeles County's inner workings, he said.
Moreno, whose second term ends in December 2014, is running to replace Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach. He is the only Democrat in a field of Republicans seeking the non-partisan position.
Because of term limits, Moorlach's seat will be open in 2014, leaving a vacancy representing an area that includes Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach in the 2nd District of the five-member board.
"If there's an opportunity to run for that kind of an office you need to take it, because I have first-hand knowledge of how things get done at that level," said Moreno, a 25-year Huntington Beach resident. He's lived in the 2nd District for 42 years.
Moreno worked for Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman in the 1980s and '90s as a senior deputy. He spent time on budget analysis as well as other countywide issues like policy development.
Moreno, who announced his candidacy in May, is part of a field of candidates that includes state Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel and Huntington Beach Councilman Joe Carchio.
Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) has also said he's considering running for Moorlach's seat.
Moreno complimented his competition but said he believes 35 years of experience in county government working for Edelman and as an assistant administrator in county-run hospitals sets him apart.
Moreno twice ran unsuccessfully for City Council in Huntington Beach in 2002 and 2004 and took his first elected office in 2006 when he joined the Coast board.
"I have had the fortune of working with the best resource we have — that's our youth," Moreno said.
He's carrying on a message from that position, he said, something students and other county residents share as a concern: finding work.
"It's jobs," Moreno said. "I think it's important to focus on supporting education. I think it's important to support business and to support industry to start importing the jobs we've exported."